A network of trauma centers led by the University of Pittsburgh has received a contract from the Department of Defense to conduct research aimed at improving trauma care for military personnel as well as for the general public. The contract could eventually lead to $90 million in funding for the Linking Investigations in Trauma and Emergency Services (LITES) Network.
Jason Sperry, MD, MPH, the principal investigator of the network, is a Professor of Surgery and Critical Care Medicine in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Barbara Early, BSN, RN, CCRC, who will be the program administrator for LITES, also serves as Operations Director of the Multidisciplinary Acute Care Research Organization (MACRO), a joint clinical research infrastructure enterprise of CCM, Emergency Medicine, Surgery, and Pulmonary/Medicine. MACRO will serve as the Clinical Coordinating Center for LITES.
Francis Guyette, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Medical Director of STAT MedEvac, is the co-principal investigator. The Epidemiology Data Center at the Pitt Graduate School of Public Health will be the network’s data coordinating center. Other key personnel include Stephen R. Wisniewski, PhD, and David Okonkwo, MD, PhD, both of Pitt; Ernest E. Moore, MD, of the University of Colorado; and Martin A. Schrieber, MD, of the Oregon Health and Science University.
The announcement of this contract comes on the heels of a report this past June from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine that underscored how significant it would be for both members of the military and for citizens if trauma care could be improved. “That report set a bold goal to achieve zero preventable deaths after injury and minimal trauma-related disability,” Sperry said in a press release from UPMC. “Serendipitously, the LITES Network has the potential to spur research that will lead to clinical advancements to achieve that ambitious goal.”
Sperry explained that the investigation will begin with a concerted data-gathering effort: “Our sense is that after approximately two years of accruing large amounts of data, we’ll be able to launch subsequent projects at the DOD’s request—including the gold standard: randomized clinical trials—to find out what approach to care works best to keep people who are injured in a trauma from dying.”
The LITES network, with its multiple participating centers and investigators, is truly a massive collaboration. The University of Colorado and Oregon Health & Science University will join the University of Pittsburgh as the leading institutions in the network, with five other trauma centers participating: the University of Texas at Houston, Vanderbilt University, University of Louisville, Baylor College of Medicine, and the University of Arizona. Subsequent studies will involve even more trauma centers, including the University of Pennsylvania, University of Utah, University of Texas Southwestern, and the University of Florida. In addition, the network will be aided in terms of advocacy and strategic planning by a partnership with the Coalition for National Trauma Research, which is made up of six leading trauma-related organizations.